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These Hotels Are the Cat's Meow

Purrfect ideas for traveling with your feline friend

By Laurie Bain Wilson
A cat sitting on a side table inside a hotel. Next Avenue, cat friendly hotels
Aetlas the cat during a recent stay at the Kimpton Marlowe Hotel  |  Credit: @Aetlastravels

There are many pet-friendly hotels around the country for dogs and, in recent years, there are also more hotels/resorts that have put out the welcome mat and scratching post towers for cats. Because cats spoke up, as they are known to do.

Here, some purrfect ideas for traveling with your feline friend — some hotels even take iguanas, parakeets and pot belly pigs, under theIr pet-friendly policy.

Pet Peeve: Leaving Kitty Behind When Traveling

Nick Squire, general manager at Kimpton Taconic Hotel in Manchester, Vermont, recently welcomed a couple traveling with their cat — named Dolly Pawton — with a welcome amenity that included a little toy mouse purchased from a local pet store in Manchester Village.

"That cat never stopped playing with the toy mouse during its stay and its parents were thrilled that the cat was easily entertained and preoccupied," says Squire. "They said they never worried once about leaving the cat in the guest room when they ventured outside of the hotel."

The best way to welcome pets of all kinds is to surprise and delight them, he says. "Do that, and you are surprising and delighting their human companions as well."

A cat sitting on a hotel bed. Next Avenue, cat friendly hotels
"When my cat and I walked in, the staff treated her like royalty, bringing her special bowls, treats, and even catnip toys. Our room was amazing — they'd set up a cat condo with sisal scratching posts just for her."  |  Credit: @Aetlastravels

In fact, the Kimpton brand was one of the first big hotel brands to jump into the pet-friendly hotel biz. "We've been pet-friendly since the company was founded in 1981— even our founder, Bill Kimpton, would bring his dog, Chianti, to work," says Joe Capalbo, CHA, Regional Director of Operations, IHG Luxury & Lifestyle, Americas and General Manager, Kimpton Marlowe Hotel in Cambridge/Boston, Massachusetts.

Kimpton is on the radar of pet parents because of their lax pet policies: There is no size/weight limit for any pets; no limit on number of pets allowed; and a deposit or cleaning fee is not charged. Also, the brand allows all pets, fury, scaly, feathery … "as long as they can fit through the door."

In a town known for Cheers, where everybody knows your name, Kimpton Marlowe in Cambridge/Boston posts the traveling cat's name on the chalkboard at the front entrance, and the cat is greeted by name. And key items will be in the room upon arrival — think: cat beds, litter boxes, cat toys and cat treats. And, even if the hotel didn't have a heads up, the front desk has the cat amenities on hand and will deliver to the guest room, upon request.

"As a frequent traveler with my beloved tabby cat, I know how challenging it can be to find a truly pet-friendly hotel where we both feel happy and cared for," says Michael L. Moore. On a recent trip to Chicago, Moore stayed at a Kimpton property in the Windy City with Goofy, his cat.

The best way to welcome pets of all kinds is to surprise and delight them.

"When my cat and I walked in, the staff treated her like royalty, bringing her special bowls, treats, and even catnip toys. Our room was amazing — they'd set up a cat condo with sisal scratching posts just for her."

Moore also took his cat out on the town."The hotel also gave me fantastic pet-friendly recommendations on cafes, parks and attractions that welcomed cats, and I could easily go on an adventure together," says Moore.


Guest Rooms With a Litter Box

The Broadmoor is a pet-friendly resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and has had at least nine lives since opening 106 years ago. The Broadmoor's founder, Spencer Penrose, had a deep love of animals — especially exotic breeds.

When he opened The Broadmoor in 1918, wildlife roamed the grounds for the guests' amusement, including seals, camels, giraffes, and bears. Tessie the African elephant served as his caddy when he played golf.

Fast forward to today: the hotel and its three wilderness outposts — The Ranch at Emerald Valley, Cloud Camp, and Fly Fishing Camp — and golf courses have resident dogs and cats that play a key role in guest relations. Also, cat guests are inducted into the Pitty Pat Club which features a dedicated cat menu with dry and wet food and treats.

Ancat in a backpack wearing 4th of July decorations. Next Avenue, cat friendly hotels
The Broadmoor Hotel's annual 4th of July Pet Parade.  |  Credit: The Broadmoor/Facebook

Litter boxes are in guest rooms and pet walking services are available. There are also Pitty Pat Club parades with guests and their felines on July 4th weekend. The pet fee is $100 per pet/per night with a maximum of two pets per room.

Michael Donovan and his wife recently traveled with their little boy and cat, Snickers, from Boston to Williamsburg, Virginia for a long weekend. "As cat owners, finding a place for our furry friend to stay with us was really important when planning our vacation," says Donovan.

After doing some research online, we decided to stay at the Red Roof Inn Williamsburg. I have to say, I was really impressed with how pet-friendly the hotel was. They let you bring dogs or cats for free, with no extra fees — which is awesome when you're traveling with kids on a budget."

Donovan says his cat loved being able to go outside to a grassy area whenever she needed to."It made me feel better knowing there was a spot on site just in case litter box breaks were required. And the staff gave recommendations on local vets and pet stores."

Cat-Pawsitive Travel Tips

Licensed veterinarian and animal nutrition expert, Michael Thompson, offers this advice for traveling with cats.

● Adequate hydration is crucial during travel, as stress and a change in routine can affect a cat's drinking habits. Offering wet food options can help in maintaining hydration levels.

● Create a secure, comfortable environment within a travel carrier to lessen travel-induced anxiety. Familiar bedding, a few favorite toys, or a piece of your clothing can provide a sense of safety and normalcy.

● Frequent breaks during long car rides or flights can help cats stretch out and relieve stress.

● For hotel stays, ensure the room is cat-proofed to avoid accidental ingestions and accidents.

Laurie Bain Wilson
Laurie Bain Wilson's work has appeared in Real Simple, Working Mother, OpenTable, Travel Channel, CNNTravel, Eat This, Chowhound, Parents, Salon, Wine Enthusiast, VinePair, New York Times and longtime correspondent at The Boston Globe. Read More
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